Posts Tagged ‘Charcuterie’

Homemade Canadian bacon.

14 September, 2008

I got a good deal on some pork loin, so I am going to make some Canadian bacon. For the record, loin bacon is also used by the Irish, so one will also hear this bacon referred to as Irish bacon; but here in the states, it’s usually called Canadian.

For one gallon of brine (boil some of the water to dissolve the salt & sugar, and mingle the spices, then add it to the rest of the gallon. Chill to fridge temp before inserting meat) Note: one gallon of brine was more than enough to cover the meat; I saved the rest to brine a venison backstrap down the road:

  • 1 1/2 cups kosher salt;
  • 1 1/2 cups dextrose, or 1 cup sugar, or 1 cup brown sugar (I used dextrose this time);
  • 8 teaspoons pink salt
  • 4 crumbled bay leaves;
  • 8 crushed juniper berries;
  • 3 smashed cloves of garlic
  • 1 tablespoon coarse ground black pepper;
  • 1 gallon water;
  • Note: this is a recipe for savory bacon. You could add any number of aromatics, such as fresh thyme or sage, or even extra sweeteners (for sweeter bacon), such as maple syrup or honey or molasses, or just increase the sugar of your choice.

For the meat:

  • 5.5 pounds pork loin (that’s just what mine weighed).

Brine the meat (be sure it is fully covered–I cut my loin into two pieces and used large Ziploc bags) for 48 hours (actually, I brined one piece for 2 days, and another for 4 days. Both tasted great pan seared before smoking (chef’s perks). Rinse the meat after brining, and let it rest on a rack uncovered in the fridge for at least 24 hours to form a pellicle (this can be short-cutted by putting the meat on a rack and running the air from a fan over it for a couple of hours). Smoke the meat until an inner temp of 145 has been reached. Slice and store in the fridge, or freeze for longer storage. Pan fry or steam to reheat, or add to soups or stews.

The procedure I used was to hot smoke the meat, which took about 8 hours at sub 200 degree heat in my smoker (fall day, small fire). You could also cold smoke the meat (keeping the temp at about 90 degrees for as man as 12 hours, but you will have to consider it still raw and cook it (of course, if you brined the meat for longer and hung it, you would get a loin prociuto, but that is for another post [or you could cure the meat, simmer it to an internal temp of 150 +/-, then cold smoke it for 12 hours (or smoke than simmer) and have a loin ham}). If you hot smoke your bacon (or, if you don’t have a smoker, slowly heat it in a 200 degree oven until the internal temp reaches 145-150 degrees, you can consider it cooked and eat it reheated, or cold.

Pictures? Well, I forgot to take them. I will say that both the two day and the four day brined pieces were equally good, and it was hard to tell a difference between the two. This ham/Canadian bacon made excellent cold cut sandwiches, for the record.


Sausagepalooza 12-01-07

2 December, 2007

Sweet Cheeks and I made some in-freakin’-credible sausages: Classic bratwurst and pork shoulder and chicken-liver sausage. The former should be heated to about 150 degrees; the latter benefits from a couple more minutes on the heat, so the liver has a little more time to set and the sausage is less crumbly. Yes, we ground the meat in our hand-cranked grinder/stuffer and stuffed into real hog casings. Recipes are below, but do not include instructions, so if you are intrigued, drop me an email for instructions.

A few pictures will be inevitable, but are currently being processed.


Bratwurst, 12-01-07
3 pounds boneless pork shoulder butt, diced
2 pounds pork belly, diced
1.5 ounces kosher salt (3 tablespoons)
1 tablespoon ground white pepper
2 teaspoons ground dried ginger
2 teaspoons freshly grated nutmeg
2 large cold eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup ice-cold heavy cream.
Notes: next time, use 2 T salt. This sausage is incredible.

Additional Note: we revisited this sausage again. This time we ground an onion with the mix. Great!

Pork shoulder and chicken liver sausage, 12-01-07
2 pounds boneless pork shoulder butt, diced
1 pound chicken livers
1 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon whole cumin
1.5 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ancho chile powder
3 cloves garlic.
Notes: Be sure to cook a little beyod 150 degrees F. A really great sausage with an intriguing rich taste and moist, but crumbly texture (unless cooked more). No unsuspecting person would ever believe liver is an ingredient. One more pound meat (with spice adjustment) would work well, too.

Additional note: some liver sausage recipes, like Reavis’ braunschweiger, which uses a 1:1 pork liver to pork butt ratio, suggest simmering cased sausages at 180–190 for one hour, then smoking at 150 for 2 hours. Sausages treated this way should last 2 weeks in the ‘fridge.